Designer Luke Choice begins with a bright image to create his colorful Smudge Script lettering in Adobe Photoshop CC.

Creative House Calls with Luke Choice

Multidisciplinary designer Luke Choice tells stories through dynamic color and composition for a broad range of clients. Watch the video below to meet him and learn his ingenious “Smudge Script” lettering technique.


Step 1: Start by opening two documents in Adobe Photoshop CC: a colorful image that will be your source document and a new, blank document where you’ll arrange your lettering into a final composition.

Step 2: In the colorful source image file, choose the Smudge tool and select a smudge brush with plenty of texture. Set its strength to the mid-90s and check Sample All Layers.

Step 3: Create a new Layer from the Layers panel or with a shortcut: Control+Shift+N (Mac OS) or Command+Shift+N (Windows). Use the Smudge tool and your mouse or stylus to draw a letter on the new layer. Luke uses confident, casual strokes to convey his playful style.

Step 4: Hold Command (Mac OS) or Control (Windows) to toggle to the Move tool, then drag the letter into your blank document.

Step 5: Back in the colorful source image, turn off the visibility of the letter you just created, then repeat steps 3 and 4 until you’ve built an entire composition of smudge script letters.


Step 1: In the colorful source image file, create a new empty layer, then choose the Pen tool and set it to Path.

Step 2: Click to create points that form the outlines of a letter, or click and drag to create curves to draw the individual strokes of a letter. Once you’ve drawn one stroke, press Esc to end it and start a new stroke.

Step 3: Open the Paths panel and you’ll see the letter you just made with the Pen tool. Choose the Smudge tool, adjust the settings to your liking, and then in the Paths panel, click Stroke Path with Smudge Tool. Photoshop will automatically smudge along the path you’ve drawn. That’s it! Now you can move it into your new document.

June 27, 2018

Video Erik Espera

Text Erica Larson